Movie Review: The Noose Hangs High (1948)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1948 Abbott and Costello movie that also stars Cathy Downs.

Synopsis: Window washers Ted and Tommy are mistaken for delivery men and are hired by bookie Nick Craig to pick up $50,000. When one of Craig's associates tries to double cross him, Tommy stashes the money in an envelope so he can mail it to Craig instead. However, a mix up in the mailing room results in the $50,000 being sent to the wrong address. When the learn the recipient, Carol, has spent all but $2,000 of the money, they realize their only hope to avoid Craig's wrath is to bet the money on a horse.

Who's in it?


It's my birthday today and I decided to take the day off from work as a result of that. I've been keeping myself busy with some household chores. However, I decided to take a break and watch a movie. Even though I've seen the film "The Noose Hangs High" before, I noticed it is going to be removed from Netflix next month and decided to watch it one more time. As it turns out, it was a good decision.

I think the thing I really like about this particular movie is it isn't as predictable as many other Abbott and Costello films. Every time Ted (Abbott) and Tommy (Costello) seem to be gaining the upper hand, something happens that sets them even further back. And, as time begins to run out before the bookie, Nick Craig (Calleia) comes to either collect the money or kill them, they become even more desperate.I figured the compulsive gambler, J. C. McBride (Errol) would have a role in getting them off the hook at some point. But, it really wasn't clear how he would help until the very end.

The movie also has a good mix of comedy ranging from sight gags (I, personally, loved the joke involving finding the right button in the car) to Abbott and Costello's quick wit. Unlike many of there movies, which seem to rehash the same jokes, there are quite a few unique scenes in this one. One of my favorites has to be the conversation they have while having dinner (as they are trying to run up a bill so they can be arrested) with Ted asking Tommy a variety of questions (including one about a 10-year-old girl). It's a scene I had to rewind and watch again.

As I mentioned, the movie wasn't as predictable as I expected and the ending ended up being a pleasant surprise as a result of that. It wrapped things up nicely while being a fun ending overall. Considering many comedies tend to be a bit hit or miss when it comes to the ending, this was something I definitely enjoyed.

Final Opinion

This is a great classic comedy I'm glad I had an opportunity to watch again. If you haven't seen it, I do recommend taking the time to watch it at least once if you get a chance to do so.

My Grade: A

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Updated: 09/29/2015, StevenHelmer
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DerdriuMarriner on 03/29/2022

StevenHelmer, Thank you for practical information, pretty pictures and product lines.
The library here does not have The Noose Hangs High among its Blu-ray and DVD collections. It's somewhat surprising since other films are available. Sometimes the online catalogue misses a key word because there are just too many from an omnibus collection of films or stories. So I plan to check the Abbott and Costello entries just in case the film title is hiding in plain sight.

How would any Abbott and Costello film fare as colorized reboots or remakes nowadays?

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